What is Columbus Day?
Recipes and Movies for the Family
By Cara J. Stevens
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What You Can Do at Home
Shipbuilding: Study the properties of boat-making – what floats, what helps make a boat go faster – using items found around the house. Create sails out of different materials, and then create wind from a straw to see which boats go faster.
Mapmaking and Navigation: Have children create a map of their house, yard, town or school and discuss different ways to navigate the space.
Travel and Exploration: Help children create their own passport and go with them on a voyage to places in their neighborhood. Have local vendors stamp their passport at each stop and write a travel journal of where they’ve been.
Cook Up a Storm: Commemorate the holiday with an Italian-themed dinner, Spanish feast or Caribbean picnic lunch. Tell the story of the holiday with one of the books listed below, and have the children make placemats or a table centerpiece with their interpretation of what the holiday means to them.
Try this easy recipe, courtesy of chef Dana Lepene:
Italian-American Chicken Pie
Think American chicken pot pie with an Italian twist. Even the littlest kids can enjoy mixing, pouring and sprinkling the ingredients into a dish using the colors of the Italian flag. The result: a healthful, delicious meal kids love to make and eat!
- 1 lb. cooked chicken breast, cut into 1" pieces
- 1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
- 16 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
- 2 tsp dried basil
- Pre-heat oven to 400°F
- Combine chicken and tomato sauce in a 9x13 baking dish
- Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of the chicken mixture
- In a separate bowl, combine eggs, milk and flour until just combined with no lumps
- Pour batter over the mozzarella cheese
- Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese and dried basil over the top
- Bake 20-25 minutes until crust is lightly browned.
For even more great ideas, visit our Italian Recipes page on Kaboose.
Books and Movie Recommendations
To learn more about Columbus Day, check out these great resources:
If You Were There in 1492: Everyday Life in the Time of Columbus, by Barbara Brenner (ages 4-8)
Christopher Columbus (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3), by Stephen Krensky (ages 6-8)
You Wouldn't Want to Sail With Christopher Columbus!: Uncharted Waters You'd Rather Not Cross (You Wouldn't Want to...), by Fiona MacDonald, David Antram, David Salariya (ages 9-12)
Schoolhouse Rock, "America Rocks" DVD
For more crafts and projects, visit our main Columbus Day Activities page.